The National Science Foundation awarded Xavier a $324,800 grant for scholarships for students majoring in mathematics or computer science as well as to educate students about careers in these fields. The grant is spread out over a four-year term.
The scholarships are to be awarded annually to eight incoming, first-year mathematics or computer science majors. Scholarships also will be awarded to students who transfer into these majors from other majors or from other schools.
The funding was awarded through NSF's computer science, engineering and mathematics scholarships program. This year, NSF received 220 proposals for this program and anticipated awarding only 65 grants.
This award says a lot about the efforts of the computer science and mathematics faculty to enhance our program and gain national recognition, says James Snodgrass, chair of the University's mathematics and computer science department.
The grant will help the University's efforts to increase the number of mathematics and computer science majors, especially among women and minorities; provide adequate support so that students remain in these majors through graduation; and educate students about career opportunities in computer science and mathematics.
Both Snodgrass and Liz Johnson, associate professor of math and computer science, are serving as project directors for the grant.
This grant also will be integrated with the $99,970 NSF grant Johnson received in 2002 to help recruit and retain mathematics, computer science and physics majors.
While the grant will provide the means to financially support computer science and mathematics majors at Xavier, the STEP program will provide the infrastructure to retain these majors, especially in the crucial first year, says Roger Fortin, the University's academic vice president. The combination will create a truly exemplary program.